civ·​i·​lized | \ ˈsi-və-ˌlīzd How to pronounce civilized (audio) \

Definition of civilized

: characteristic of a state of civilization civilized society especially : characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint

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Examples of civilized in a Sentence

A civilized society must respond to crime with fairness and justice. Stop yelling. We have to be more civilized about this. Try to act like a civilized human being! a civilized way to spend the evening
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Recent Examples on the Web

An American is a civilized man who has renewed himself in the wild. Candice Rainey, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Colorado Ranch Retreat That Gives You a Real Taste of Cowboy Life," 20 July 2018 Certain elements were directly inspired by Deerfield, like the round tables in the dining hall, each one presided over by a teacher and designed to stimulate civilized prandial conversation. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012 At a time when world politics are in a disgraceful state, how should a civilized adult comport himself? Vogue, "The Top 12 Collections of the Fall 2019 Menswear Season," 23 Jan. 2019 How such immoral subjugation could occur in an otherwise civilized country seems unfathomable to today's U.S. citizens. Tom Titus,, "On Theater: A haunting premiere of ‘Little Black Shadows’ at SCR," 19 Apr. 2018 The ambiance is quiet and civilized, as well-suited for a client lunch as a special occasion with the in-laws. Janice Leung Hayes, Condé Nast Traveler, "19 Best Dim Sum Spots in Hong Kong," 5 Mar. 2018 There's something about seeing a pregnant belly that makes even the most civilized people forget their manners. Kimberly Fusaro, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman," 13 Jan. 2014 But American Airlines wants to make things a bit more civilized: Earlier this year, the airline tested a food pre-ordering system for economy class passengers on select routes; the service went systemwide on August 1, reports The Points Guy. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "American Airlines Now Lets You Pre-Order Meals in Economy Class," 14 Aug. 2018 In the first case, Riggs himself the voiceover for Carl's letter to Rick, reminding his father about fonder times from before the apocalypse, and pleading for a return to their more civilized nature. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Walking Dead': Here's What Carl Wrote in His Letters to Rick and Negan," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civilized.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civilized

1611, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for civilized

Last Updated

21 May 2019

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Time Traveler for civilized

The first known use of civilized was in 1611

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More Definitions for civilized



English Language Learners Definition of civilized

: marked by well-organized laws and rules about how people behave with each other
: polite, reasonable, and respectful
: pleasant and comfortable

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Comments on civilized

What made you want to look up civilized? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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